Dan Wilkinson signed a three-year contract with Miami today. He spoke to the media a couple of hours ago. This is what he said:
Do you still go by "Big Daddy" and when did you get that name?
"I can’t shake that name. I’ve been carrying that since seventh grade.
Most people just call me Dan, Dan or Daniel, that’s fine with me."
Might have to fight Shaq for the nickname?
"Oh no, he can have it. It’s all his."
What brought you down here?
"I’ve been looking at several different teams, but the Dolphins fit the
best. I mean, this is a team that’s right there to make that next big
step. I definitely want to be a part of that. Playing 12 years in the
NFL, this is my 13th going into, I’ve been to the playoffs one time.
This is a grand opportunity. This is a team that’s right there with the
right nucleus, right players and the right coaching staff to take it to
the next championship level. And what better way to finish my career?"
Were you close to retirement?
"Well, I wouldn’t say pretty close to retirement, but Detroit just
didn’t fit. They brought in a coaching staff and just a change of
philosophy, it was just time for me to leave there."
Did you think after Detroit of calling it a career?
"No, right after Detroit let me go I received many phone calls from
teams that we interested. I wasn’t in no big rush. It gave me an
opportunity, really, to kind of sit back and spend some time with my
family and just kind of heal my body, which always is helpful. When I
was released by the Redskins, having that extra time actually really
went well for me, physically and mentally. Now, I’m refreshed, I’m
back, I’m excited and what better position to be in."
How long will it take you to get out there?
"About two or three days. Just getting acclimated. I ran pretty good
today, which was a good conditioning test and a couple of days of
football drills and moving around, I’ll be ready. I’ve been playing
long enough, it doesn’t take much."
What was the final hurdle that was clear that made you decide now is
the time to sign?
"I still had time, a couple of weeks of preseason games and couple of
weeks of training camp. Now’s the time to really get in and get ready
for Pittsburgh, and that’s my main focus, come in to be able to
contribute and help the team get to that next level. And now is the
perfect time for that."
Are you looking at this as a long-term commitment instead of just a
"I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed throughout my career not to
have any significant injuries and to remain strong throughout my
career, so I don’t see why this is any different. I’ve been very
fortunate to stay healthy throughout my career and I look for that to
Can you talk about where you are at this point in your career?
"I can definitely still come in here and dominate the line of
scrimmage, no question. That’s all been my strength and my game, and
that will continue. I’m healthy and I’m strong and when I get on the
field that will carry over."
What other teams showed interest?
"Five, six other teams. I don’t want to go through the whole list just
OK, how about a couple of them?
"Green Bay, Oakland, Philly, Baltimore, a couple others, Green Bay,
How much will it help having all those veterans on the d-line where you
"Oh, it’s huge, playing with a group of veterans like this. It makes it
so much easier. And they’ve got a couple of young pups that need to get
tutored and kind of helped along. Me playing with a veteran line,
that’s great for me because I know where everybody’s going to be and
they’re going to know where I’m going to be, and I’ll be in a position
to produce and help the team."
Was being able to skip the first two weeks of training camp one of the
reasons you didn’t sign before?
"No, it’s really just kind of taking back and looking at all my options
and looking at the best situation for me. I came down here on a visit a
couple of months ago and it went extremely well. This just continued to
be when I looked at all my options, this continued to be the best fit
and the best opportunity."
What are your impressions of Nick Saban?
"I met and talked with Coach Saban on many occasions, and I like him a
lot. He’s a straightforward, no-nonsense guy. His wealth of knowledge
as a football coach and on the defensive side of the ball is just
something that’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to playing
What was it like meeting your new teammates?
"You know what, moving from different teams, it kind of refreshes you
again. You get stuck in the same system over a while, you kind of get
complacent and you kind of get in the same old rut. But this definitely
feels refreshing. This feels like I’m 22 again, like again, fortunately
I’ve been very healthy throughout my career and I’m looking forward to